How do you bring Westeros and King's Landing to the local arena stage? That was the challenge facing the team behind the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience, a 28-date tour coming to 28 North American cities in early 2017. You start with a massive orchestra, choir and drum corps performing music from the six seasons of the hit HBO drama, then add in some state-of-the-art video screens and the boundless enthusiasm of the show's composer, Ramin Djawadi.
"The idea came up in the studio when I was with [show runners] David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss], and I played them a piece of music and they were like, 'Oh, we would love to hear this live, you have to play this live,'" Djawadi told Billboard about the genesis of the massive undertaking.
"What I always said was if we were going to do this concert I want to take it a step further than what people know as the traditional 'Let's play some music from your favorite TV show and have an orchestra.' But let's really turn it into a spectacle and an actual show." The tour will kick off at Kansas City's Sprint Center on Feb. 15 and is currently slated to run through April 2 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon.
The recently released first teaser clip of the tour makes it clear that, like Benioff and Weiss' show, Djawadi aimed for the stars with his production. Backed by a full 80-piece orchestra and choir, Djawadi said the Live Nation-promoted tour will weave the iconic score from the first six seasons with scenes from the Seven Kingdoms in a way he thinks has never been done before.
"This is all about the music, but having the stage like you saw in the video, it really makes it very contemporary and exciting," he said of the 360-degree stage that will bring the scenes to life using LED telescoping and wall screens that will be augmented by 3-D designs that rise and fall from the stage floor. "You can see we have fire on the screen and dragons and the middle part turns into The Wall and it can really mold into structures and locations that the show has that will take the audience on a more immersive, really exciting [experience]."
The orchestra will be planted on the King's Landing Stage, where Djawadi will also spend the night, conducting them. The choir, soloists and percussionists will move around, including on the other round stage representing Winterfell. At press time, Djawadi said he couldn't confirm whether any of the show's actors will participate in the tour, though "all have been invited ... most of them are really into the music."
As for how he plans to keep the show's younger audience engaged in what is essentially a symphony concert with some killer videos, Djawadi said the plan is to make the tour a kind of warm-up for season 7, which is expected sometime in mid-2017. "The idea is to come out and relive all of the first six seasons with the fan-favorite pieces [of music] and, with that, relive some of their favorite scenes," he said, noting that at various points the audience will feel like they've stepped inside a castle, a snowstorm or a blast of fire. "But we're also creating our own content that will glue everything together and is Game of Thrones-inspired."
His goal all along was not to just screen show footage for people to watch with an orchestra playing behind it. "Then it becomes distracting and it takes away from the music," said the Emmy- and Oscar-nominated composer, who is also behind the intriguing score for HBO's newest bloody bodice-ripping drama Westworld. "We're working very hard to find the perfect balance where there will be footage and music and things happening onstage to keep the audience engaged."
Feb. 15 -- Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center
Feb. 17 -- St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center
Feb. 19 -- Chicago, IL @ United Center
Feb. 20 -- Detroit, MI @ Palace of Auburn Hills
Feb. 22 -- Columbus, OH @ Nationwide Arena
Feb. 23 -- Buffalo, NY @ Keybank Center
Feb. 25 -- Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun
Feb. 26 -- Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center
March 1 -- Washington, DC @ Verizon Center
March 3 -- Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre
March 4 -- Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
March 6 -- Boston, MA @ TD Bank Garden
March 7 -- New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
March 9 -- Charlotte, NC @ Time Warner Cable Arena
March 11 -- Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ BB&T Center
March 12 -- Tampa, FL @ Amalie Arena
March 14 -- Atlanta, GA @ Philips Arena
March 16 -- San Antonio, TX @ AT&T Center
March 17 -- Houston, TX @ Toyota Center
March 19 -- Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center
March 21 -- Salt Lake City, UT @ Maverik Center
March 23 -- Los Angeles, CA @ The Forum
March 25 -- Las Vegas, NV @ MGM Grand Garden Arena
March 26 -- Phoenix, AZ @ TalkingStick Resort Arena
March 29 -- San Jose, CA @ SAP Center
March 31 -- Seattle, WA @ Key Arena
April 1 -- Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena
April 2 -- Portland, OR @ Moda Center